Increasingly brands are moving away from agencies towards their own in-house marketing teams. A recent report by IAB showed that 35% of the advertisers surveyed are moving programmatic in-house – up from just 17% in 2016. Digital marketers are taking control and removing the mystery surrounding marketing processes.
But the move in-house hasn’t been without its issues. In fact, when asked, 13% of these marketers had reneged on their decision to move in-house as a result of the difficulties. And many reported that one of the hardest parts involved recruitment.
Which is why we generated this guide to help you assemble the most effective team.
But why are brands moving in-house?
There are many reasons why in-house brings rewards. With trust in agencies at an all-time low, the control that is to be gained from moving in-house is incredibly appealing to many brands.
1. Full transparency
Understanding where exactly your money is being spent is just one of the reasons why marketing is moving in-house. With full transparency over pricing, there is the potential to save money. Take control of your programmatic media buying and optimise for the greatest return on investment (ROI).
Agile workflows is another advantage. Without the need to coordinate between several agencies it is easier to keep track. Forget long and convoluted email chains. It’s a matter of communicating face-to-face, using one collaborative platform, (or for the socially awkward – via GIFs on Slack).
3. Ownership of your data
In a similar vein, in-house teams are able to respond instantly and act upon first-party data. In the post-GDPR landscape it’s important to have ownership of your data. Or at least have an understanding of how it and where it is being used.
4. Better collaboration
Another benefit of in-house teams is having their goals aligned with yours. An in-house team has a natural connection to your business – your success is their next paycheck. Compared to agencies whom could potentially afford to see your campaigns fail, an in-house team certainly cannot.
So how do I assemble the perfect in-house team?
Of course, there are many types of in-house marketing teams dependent upon the size of your business and your needs. Perhaps your brand is just looking to move media buying in-house or like Shutterstock, take control of your creative.
Nevertheless, there are some roles and personalities you need to include whatever your set-up:
One cannot overstate the importance of an effective and engaging content team. Make sure you’re hiring someone creative – extensive experience in the field is not always necessary. But they should be comfortable with copywriting, video, podcasts and social to engage consumers throughout each stage of the sales funnel.
The ideal candidate will have extensive tech stack capabilities and have experience in the industry in which you operate. Take note of how they have worked in a team environment before.
The best way to identify if they’re the right fit for your business is to give them a test project. Give them a time limit (4hrs max) and compare the quality of work produced over other candidates. Bannerflow’s Lead Designer, Daniele Tottle, suggests: “consider paying them for a project such as this, designers don’t appreciate being taken advantage of.”
3. Digital Specialist
They should have considerable experience, as well as exposure to search and performance KPIs. Their employment history – either agency or in-house – will usually be a measure of the pace they’re used to working at.
For our own Digital Specialist, Lucy Hemingway, hiring a thought leader who has opinions on “what digital marketing success should look like” is an important consideration.
4. SEO & analytics
It’s all about the data. Ask any modern marketer and they’ll tell you that you need to be able to analyse the effectiveness of your campaigns and act upon it. Make sure you hire a killer team of SEO and analytics members so you can act upon your first-party data.
Look out for a candidate who not only has a proven track record with SEO, but also someone with a well-rounded understanding of marketing.
5. Social media
Social media is an important part of any in-house marketing mix. Whether you’re a B2C or B2B business, social media is just as important as ranking highly in Google search.
Although Wetherspoons, the hugely successful British pub chain, (with the cheapest pints and stickiest floors around) may have sworn off social media the reality is that you need social media for success. Hire someone with imagination and experience across platforms – not just someone skilled with a selfie stick.
6. Media Buyer specialist
If you’re looking to take your media buying in-house it’s important to hire specialists. The trouble with agency media buying is that it often relies on junior team members to take control. Hire a candidate with experience in the right technologies and who stays up to date with strategies for greater ROI.
And for Product Owner, Björn Karlström, “it’s important you favour a candidate that isn’t only a strategist but also isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty.”
Your CMO is your chief strategist, coordinator, and team leader. Ideally, you want someone with an understanding of the different expertise of their team. And ultimately, you should hire someone who knows far more than you in regards to marketing. Someone who can challenge both you and their team to be better and succeed.
Of course, the role types and numbers of employees will vary depending on your business size and needs. The most important thing to remember is to have patience when it comes to building the perfect team!
So how do you attract and maintain the perfect team?
One of the difficulties is in attracting the best candidates and continually challenging them. Agency staff are surrounded by like-minded individuals and have a myriad of brands to try their hand at.
But in-house is becoming increasingly popular: with many citing greater work-life balance, better communication, and more freedom as reasons to opt-in. So there’s a good scope for attracting the right candidates!
How can you attract them, and more importantly, maintain the most effective team?
Projecting your company culture is critical in this competitive arena. Marketing these days is all about creativity and investing in the health and happiness of your employees, make sure you show this when candidates come for interviews.
You can always showcase your culture on social media, as well as get your employees to help with reviews on sites such as glassdoor.com (hopefully they’re positive).
2. Dedicated HR
It might be worth setting up a dedicated HR department for hiring your marketing team. A recent report by Digiday found that many brands had greater success this way.
Make sure to invest in a good onboarding programme. You can’t afford for your team to gradually to learn the ropes over a period of several months. Kickstart their employment with an in-depth and comprehensive onboarding process. This will help you get the results you desire sooner.
4. Constantly develop
You’ve attracted the right candidate and you’ve got them settled in. So what next? Marketing is always evolving, and as are the technologies and strategies that go with it. In order to compete with agencies, your in-house team needs to constantly improve their practice. Leave room in your budget for courses and encourage employees to sign up for online resources and webinars.
5. Introduce fresh talent
Too much employee churn can be unhealthy for your business. But periodically introducing new employees with fresh ideas will aid creativity and challenge existing norms.
Brands and campaigns doing it right
In-house marketing is nothing new. Big name brands such as Spotify and Marks & Spencer have been successfully operating some, if not all, of their marketing in-house for some time.
In an interview with MarketingWeek, former VP of brand and creative of Spotify, Jackie Jantos spoke of the immense advantages of in-house. No longer impeded by a cumbersome back and forth between creative agencies, they were able to act in an agile manner. As evidenced by their David Bowie tribute in the New York metro. Creating a team that can implement ideas quickly is imperative for a hyper-relevant marketing strategy.
Marks & Spencer – the British institution famous for their silky smooth voice overs of their commercials and for their successful in-house team. Their team capitalised on the waistcoat hype after England’s victory over Sweden in the World Cup. M&S waistcoats experienced a 35% uplift thanks to their timely campaign. The suave Gary Southgate had something to do with it too perhaps…
Moving your marketing in-house allows for greater agility in your marketing strategy. If you can create the perfect team hyper-relevant marketing is within reach. Want to know more? Explore how Kicks and ATG managed the transition with our in-depth study.
Creating the perfect in-house team can be difficult. But get the right balance of strategic and agile thinkers as well as foster a creative culture, and in-house can bring rewards.
In-house marketing is an increasingly popular movement. Brands are moving away from inefficient processes and murky agency relationships. They are removing the mystery of digital marketing and taking control of their marketing strategy.
Of course, the perfect partnership to an in-house team is the right technology. Being able to design and scale ads with ease as well as collaborate across teams is essential.
Get in contact with us to learn how Bannerflow can aid the development of your in-house team.